High-tech lab opens in Illinois


Crime-fighting efforts in northern Illinois recently got a major boost with the opening of the Illinois State Police Forensic Science Center, a $30-million facility with high-tech equipment that uses lasers to lift fingerprints, separate DNA from postage stamps and send digitized images of bullets around the world.

The 85,000-square-foot facility replaced an antiquated facility on the fifth floor of Chicago Police Headquarters that opened in 1938. It joins seven other state-operated crime labs in Illinois and will cost about $18 million and employ about 200 people.

The new lab can handle up to 75,000 cases a year, mostly from Chicago and other Cook County police agencies. While the facility opened officially in October, it has been handling about 1,400 cases a week since July.

At dedication ceremonies on Oct. 7, Gov. Jim Edgar said the facility an “important new asset and resource in our fight against crime in Illinois…. This lab will give us state-of-the-art here in Cook County. It will allow us to speed up the processing of evidence, and it will allow police to work through a backlog that has developed over the years.”

Ironically, a power outage darkened the facility for a few moments during Edgar’s remarks. “So much for new technology,” the Governor quipped.

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Published in Law Enforcement News
Dec. 15, 1996.
© 1996, LEN Inc.